The European Union on Thursday imposed sanctions on six Russian officials and one organisation over the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny with a Soviet-era nerve agent.
The move came a day after Russia’s foreign minister warned that Moscow might respond with similar measures. The decision was agreed upon among the 27 EU envoys to Brussels.
“The adopted restrictive measures consist of a travel ban to the EU and an asset freeze for individuals, and an asset freeze for the entity,” the EU said in a statement.
The list includes two high level officials in the Presidential Executive Office, a director of the federal security service and two deputy ministers in the Russian defense ministry. The EU is also targeting the State Scientific Research Institute for Organic Chemistry and Technology.
EU foreign ministers agreed Monday to impose the sanctions, following a push by France and Germany to freeze the assets of those suspected of involvement and ban them from traveling in Europe under sanctions to combat the use and spread of chemical weapons.
Navalny, an anti-corruption investigator and major political opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, fell ill on August 20 during a domestic flight in Russia. He was flown to Germany for treatment two days later and is still recovering there.
Last week, tests conducted at labs designated by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed that Navalny was poisoned by a Novichok nerve agent.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview on Wednesday that “the Germans are not planning to provide any facts, despite all international and legal obligations. We respond in kind.”